Google offers tools for small business

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These days it seems like every time Google slaps its logo on a technology, the earth trembles. The company makes no secret of its interest in developing a suite of office productivity tools. Still, the news Monday that Google is launching such a suite for small to midsize businesses will prompt hasty meetings in Redmond and elsewhere.

Google Apps for Your Domain, which debuts in beta, builds on enterprise inroads the search giant has made in the past year, including Gmail for Your Domain and the Google Search Appliance. For now, Google Apps is a modest proposal best suited for smaller organizations: a Gmail account that carries an organization’s domain name, Google’s calendar, IM, and Web page creation software, said Matthew Glotzbach, Google’s head of enterprise products. But Glotzbach didn’t rule out enterpises such as General Motors or Wal-Mart buying into the Google Apps vision some day.

The company is being pragmatic about the time it will take to develop an offering for large enterprises. But Google Apps already has “hundreds of thousands of users” in “tens of thousands” of domains, Glotzbach said.

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